6 Steps for Organizing a World Dance Party in your Community

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We often get contacted by other organizations, community groups, or individuals that stumbled upon a World Dance Party and had a blast. They might say “I love this idea, there should be a WDP in every neighborhood.” And there can be!

WDP was born in Southeast Seattle, but the basic formula (dancing + potluck + local resources) can be applied to almost any community. Give it a try.

Here are 6 simple steps to get you started:

1. Build your all-star team of party planners— start with people you know and trust in your community. Invite local movers and shakers and as many artists/dancers/musicians as you find. Think about all the big and little organizations that make your community thrive and put feelers out. You never know who might want to jump on the WDP train. This group should be reflective of the community and diverse in every possible way.

2. Ask your party planners about their networks– each community is rich with assets! Come up with a list of potential venues, dance instructors, sponsors, and neighborhood connectors. Make a big spreadsheet with contact information for everyone on your list and jot some ideas describing how they can be involved. Update the list from time to time as you make new local partners. Anyone and everyone can be a valuable addition to your WDP network.

3. Location– Pick a couple spots that might work and assign people to contact them. Many places will agree to host you for free because they want to be a part of building community around them. It never hurts to ask- who knows what they’ll offer? Try to pick locations that are easily accessible by public transportation and have large parking lots.

ONCE THE VENUE IS SECURED AND DATE IS DETERMINED:

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4. Recruit dance instructors and DJ– identify instructors that offer a good representation of dance styles from around the globe. Contact cultural centers and find out if they have dance groups that would like to teach. If they can’t help, maybe they know someone else who can. Follow the path and see where it takes you. Make sure the DJ has the right sound equipment and test everything before the event (VERY IMPORTANT).

Helpful Hint: Have a HUGE list of potential dance instructors and add to it often. It can take a lot of phone calls and emails to find 8 people to teach at a WDP. Give this task to a couple people if necessary.

5. Spread the word— design some posters or flyers, start an email list, connect with local schools, non-profits, and businesses. Ask around and find out how your neighbors get their information. Talk it up at local bumping spaces and neighborhood meetings. Make a facebook event. Don’t be shy!

Side note:  If you plan to have a potluck, make sure to include that detail on everything you send out. We learned this the hard way one time.

6. Go with the flow — (On the day of the WDP) you should have already delegated tasks to all the members of your planning team, remind everyone of their responsibilities. Be flexible and have fun with it. Remember that each person is there to hang out, share food, and learn some new dances. Leave some time for yourself to eat some grub and dance with your friends. Always leave the building cleaner than you found it and thank your host on the way out.

Handy Tip: Give props where they are due. Acknowledge your volunteers, dance instructors…and everyone that came to share their evening with a roomful of kind strangers. Be ready with Thank You cards and/or beers for the afterparty.

Things to remember:

  • Invite everyone and their mother
  • Ask someone to take pictures
  • Be respectful and spread the love

**Our instructions weren’t good enough? Email us and one of our amazing volunteers will give you some more pointers- worlddanceparty@gmail.com

Another Incredible Year for WDP

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Happy New Year from World Dance Party!

Big THANKS to those of you who made it out to our 11/7 World Dance Party at the Ethiopian Community in Seattle! Our hosts graciously opened the doors to their beautiful center and kicked off the event with some Ethiopian dances that got the place shaking. We followed that up with more dances– Vietnamese, Somali, Bollywood, Bachata, and WDP’s Ann King and the Sliders.

The place was packed and everybody was out on the dance floor working up a sweat. We actually had to turn on the air conditioning to cool the place down in November!! Mad props to the DJ, our crowd, and all the volunteer dance instructors for bringing the energy. Our dance parties are also potlucks…and the grub did not disappoint.

Help us spread the love in 2015! We’ve got big plans for next year– new locations, new dance instructors, our new and updated WDP blog to follow. Stay tuned at our WDP Seattle facebook: https://www.facebook.com/worlddanceparty

**We’re always on the lookout for dance instructors. Anyone that wants to teach a dance at a 2015 WDP should email: worlddancepartyseattle@gmail.com

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Show up and get down!